Starting today, and for the next two days, UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) will hold its Congress and Executive Committee meeting in Tel Aviv. The draw for the Euro 2010 qualifying groups will also take place.
From an article in Ha’aretz:
This is the first time that Israel has ever hosted the annual gathering, which is taking place two months before the World Cup kicks off in South Africa.
Congress participants include FIFA President Joseph (Sepp) Blatter, UEFA President Michel Platini, former German footballer Franz Beckenbauer and the heads of international football teams.
Hosting the UEFA Congress is the culmination of a years-long effort by the Israeli Tourism Ministry.
“Israel is an ideal country for training camps and sporting activities and matches, year-round and especially during the European winter,” said Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov. “I am sure that the combination of the climate and the infrastructure for training and matches, alongside the many tourist sites and entertainment and leisure options, will make our guests choose Israel for both personal and professional visits in the future.”
The Tourism Ministry is working to increase Israel’s cooperation with European countries in order to boost tourism by improving Israel’s international image as a safe and modern country to visit.